Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Recipe of the week: Buckwheat pancakes with blueberry sauce

Growing up in Canada meant pancakes every Sunday morning. It’s a tradition I’ve brought to Australia. Although I’m not living gluten-free anymore, I still like to try alternatives. Plus, I have 2 sisters who are Coeliac so I like to try out recipes to pass on.

I can’t imagine going without pancakes for the rest of my life and luckily I don’t have to – and neither do my sisters or anyone who has a health reason for not eating gluten. I’ve tried gluten-free pancakes in the past but the recipe I’m about to share is by far the best one ever!! I’ve adapted it from a recipe I saw in the February 2015 edition of Women’s Fitness magazine. Enjoy!!

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Recipe of the week: Banana Bread Free-style

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I collect recipes. I have for years. This one came to me via Facebook. I do not have the recipient’s name or link but this “free-style” banana bread is too good to not share. Photo and design by me.

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bb 2

 

 

For PDF click Banana Bread Recipe


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When the end is just the beginning

Today is the last day of my 6-week elimination diet. I did it!! (again)

Instead of celebrating with a chocolate cake with extra whipped cream, I’m doing nothing.

Sure, tomorrow I will relax my strictness, mostly about sugar (choosing natural only) but I am not running back to my old habits.

I have new habits now and I love the way that I feel.

I have NO physical reactions to foods I consume and any body image issues I had, are gone.

My muffin top tummy is gone and I don’t feel I need to exercise like a demon daily to keep myself looking good.

I am getting together with friends on Friday night and wine will be involved.

But as far as food is concerned, I’m quite happy to stick to my fruit, veggies, proteins and grains.

There are plenty of food choices out there that were not formed in a test tube or come from a factory. Just think outside the box. Pun intended!!!!

Breakfast was hard but I’ve found a couple hot winter breakies that I LOVE.

hot breakfast

Sauteed veggies with almonds and poached freerange eggs

quinoa

Quinoa flakes with banana, fresh date and chopped nuts

I do realise that quinoa flakes are processed but going 100% fresh produce only is near impossible in the Western world. I also drink almond & rice milk from a box..tsk tsk tsk.

I’m still addicted to organic peanut butter but have cut down on my consumption. But just typing that out has made my mouth water.

Off to get a celery stick with PB now.

Here’s to great food and good health!

 


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The Best Dairy-free Chocolate Pudding

I’ve been on my 6-week elimination diet for over 4 weeks now and although it gets easier, I still feel a bit down when I see my boys eating chocolate.

So much so that last week I started to have hot cocao drinks made with raw organic cocao powder and almond milk. Sometimes, I add 1 tsp of raw honey (which is against the rules but as they say, rules are made to be broken).

Those drinks have been a blessing and very satisfying but when I came across a dairy-free chocolate pudding recipe in my collection, I had to try it. And it is delicious, despite the odd ingredients.

For all you people cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar but still want a treat, try it. It’s now my favourite dessert.

chocolate pudding

 


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All the pretty food

It’s day 21 of my health kick. With each day comes new strength and determination to be the healthiest and fittest I can be NOW. I’ve even been getting up to do early morning work-outs. I’ve been eating less junk (WAY less) and more salads, berries, proteins and drinking more smoothies. I’m lovin’ it and don’t miss the unless carbs and calories I was consuming on a regular basis. But I continue to dream.

There was this time not too long ago when I had to face the beautiful food and say no and it was tough.

I was in Perth and Mr M spotted a donut shop and just had to try one. That didn’t tempt me. I planned to sit in the car and wait patiently. Within seconds, he returned and asked me to get coffee at the little cupcake shop because he could see they had a kick-ass espresso machine. It didn’t take much for me to jump out of the car and into that cute, retro-style sugar haven.

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The gorgeously retro espresso machine that made average coffee. (coffee snobbery runs high in my household)

When I entered the glass door at Kustom Cupcakes, it was as if I had walked into 1955. Everything was pale pink and blue, clean and fun looking. The cabinet was filled with perfectly coiffed cupcakes of different colours, flavours and textures. Who can resist a good cupcake?

CUPCAKES COLOUR

Colourful Cupcakes

Me, that’s who. I looked, oh yes did I look but I did not touch. I ordered 2 coffees to go and stocked up on all their written material so I could plan my order for the next time we passed by. So far, my wish-list includes:

  • Peanut Buttercup
  • Cherry Pie
  • PB & J
  • Salted Caramel
  • Choc Mint
  • Jam Donut

I best stop there. Of course, I will not eat all those,  it’s just a dream. Prices: 6 for $20, 12 for $35 or 24 for $65. How much money should I take?

The coffee was ok but what was most impressive was the Oreo cookie that was served on the lid of each cup. I like that idea!!! They also had jars of lollies to help yourself to – of course, I did not.

What I did indulge in on that trip was a banana spilt. I can hear you say, “But I thought you weren’t having dairy?”

That is correct, I am not having dairy at the moment. This banana split was made with coconut ice cream! I didn’t even order it, Mr M surprised me with it so I couldn’t say no – that would’ve been rude.

banana split

Banana Split made with coconut ice cream from Gelare in Joondalup’s Lakeside Shopping Centre.

I resisted the cupcakes but the frosty dessert got me. I didn’t feel guilty. I’m enjoying working hard towards my health goals and being able to indulge every once and awhile.

What’s your favourite pretty food?

 


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Easy lunch idea: Spicy lentil soup

I love soup.

It’s heating up in Australia so my soup season is coming to an end but this is so delicious, I may keep it as a year-round favourite. It’s super easy and it contains many pantry staples so no special shopping is required.

I’ve adapted this recipe from the original that was published in  The Australian Women’s Weekly 21-day diet planner. They call it spiced red lentil soup. I’ve never had their version but my version is simply delicious. Enjoy!

blog oct 4 spicy lentil soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

Dairy free, Gluten free, Vegetarian*

1 large onion, diced

fresh red chilli, sliced (amount depends on how spicy you like it)

1 heaping tablespoon of mild curry paste (I use korma)

2 cups of chicken stock (*use veggie stock for vegetarian)

2 cups of water

400g canned tomatoes (or chopped fresh romas if you have them)

100g (1/2 cup) red lentils

Large handful of washed baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup of fresh coriander (I use 1/2 tsp of ground if I don’t have fresh)

METHOD:

Saute onions and chilli over medium heat until soft (in a little oil of your choice if preferred). Add curry paste and ground coriander (if using). Stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Add stock, water, undrained tomatoes and washed lentils. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir in spinach.

Season with salt and pepper. Top with fresh coriander. Serve hot.

This soup makes great leftovers so keep for tomorrow’s lunch too!

 

Stay tuned for my next post about my favourite new health foods! Being healthy has never been so delicious!! 


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WWW – What’s Working for me Wednesday

WWW

I missed the last 2 weeks of WWW. I had too much working for me those past weeks because I was on holiday in far north Queensland!!! This Wednesday though, I am back to reality and back to writing. Believe me, I was surprised to not have written at all during my holiday. That was not my intent at all.

I’m on day 3 now of my healthy eating and all is well. My diet consists of dairy-free smoothies, vegetables, some fruit, probiotic yoghurt and protein(nuts, free-range chicken, salmon and eggs)..and decaf coffee..lots of coffee. I have been wanting something sweet so today I made a flourless chocolate cake. It’s more like a brownie and very yummy. It’s definitely what’s working for me this Wednesday!!!

I found the recipe in the pages of a past House & Garden magazine. There was a 3-page spread by Teresa Cutter on chocolate treats that are good for you. She says

Chocolate comes from the antioxidant-packed cocoa or cacao bean, which is also a source of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, chromium and iron.

Great news, Teresa!!!

So far, I’ve tried 2 of the 8 chocolate recipes that she provided and both have been easy, healthy  and delicious. The cake has very few ingredients and I whipped it up in less than 10 minutes. Even Master T liked it. I just wish I could have had a glass of cold milk with my piece like he did!! If you want to try it, here’s the recipe.

you'll need this

you’ll need this

and this

and this

 

280g quality dark chocolate ( I used 70%)

2/3 cup organic coconut oil

4 free-range eggs

2/3 cups almond meal

2 Tbsp cornflour or arrowroot flour (I used potato flour)

Preheat oven to 180. Grease and paper a 20cm springform pan.

melt chocolate and oil

melt chocolate and oil

Place chocolate and oil in bowl and set over a pan of simmering water.Stir to melt the chocolate.

add eggs

add eggs

Remove from heat and whisk in eggs.

Stir in dry ingredients and combine well.

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

Pour into pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs. Cool slightly in tin then refrigerate for 3 hours (I did 1 hour and it was fine). I sprinkled the cooled cake with pure cocoa powder before serving.

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Keep in mind that this cake is very, very moist and quite oily. It does taste of coconut and has a mealy texture due to the almond meal. To me though, any dessert that contains chocolate and no gluten, yeast or dairy is a winner!!! Maybe I really can have my cake and eat it too….

 

 


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How to start a “restricted” diet.

When you start on a restricted diet of any scale it’s easy to think, ‘What am I going to eat now?’

I used to get asked, ‘So what DO you eat?’ all the time. Many people, especially the ones who do not cook for themselves or rely on boxed or pre-made meals, think there simply is nothing left to eat when you cut out gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, sugar, malt or whatever the impairing ingredient. But there are many choices available and once you wrap your head around it, it’s easy and you will get to a point where you want the “free”, healthy stuff.

But the truth is this: If you want to succeed, you will have to start cooking for yourself. I’m sure in the big cities, there are plenty of specialty cafes and restaurants who do or will cater for special diets. If you have a high deposable income, then that may work for you. But for everyone else, here are some easy cook-at-home meal ideas that will keep you on track without feeling deprived.

 Firstly, you need to shop. Even the smallest of supermarkets have a health food section these days. This is where you will find the gluten-free, yeast-free, wheat-free whatever you are restricting; you will find it in this section of the shop. Yes, the products are more expensive so just get over it now. And start reading ALL labels. Be careful because so much “processed” foods including flavoured potatoes chips have yeast extract, milk powder or wheat starch in mix. I eat plain, salted chips or natural corn chips only.

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Here’s a list of musts for the pantry:

  1. Gluten-free pasta
  2. Organic gluten-free falafel mix
  3. Korma paste
  4. Gluten-free pappadums
  5. Coconut milk or cream
  6. Tamari sauce (wheat-free soya sauce)
  7. Tomato puree
  8. Tinned tomatoes
  9. Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pine nuts…..
  10. Seeds: Pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower…..
  11. Gluten-free crackers
  12. Corn chips
  13. Lentils
  14. Chickpeas
  15. Tahini paste
  16. Quinoa
  17. Rice: Brown and basmati
  18. Organic, sulphur-free dried fruits
  19. Oils: Olive, vegetable, sesame
  20. Spices: cumin, Italian herbs, cinnamon…whatever your fancy

And a stocked fridge of:

  1. Fresh vegetables
  2. Fresh fruits
  3. Fresh spices: chilli, ginger, garlic
  4. sheep’s feta
  5.  olive oil spread (must say dairy free)
  6. Gluten-free bread (if yeast is allowed)
  7. Free-range eggs

Now, with all that at your finger tips, here is a list of possible meals.

  1. Vegetable or chicken (free-range of course) korma (with coconut cream instead dairy) with rice and pappadums
  2. Pasta with a simply tomato and garlic sauce and salad
  3. Falafel balls and salad served with homemade hummus
  4. Dahl with rice and pappadums
  5. Quinoa salad with toasted seeds, nuts, dried fruits, salad greens/herbs and roast pumpkin
  6. Egg fried rice with vegetables and tamari (add meat if you wish)
  7. Pumpkin soup with coconut milk instead of dairy. Serve with gluten-free crackers.
  8. Potato and leek soup
  9. Pasta (spaghetti is best here) with oil, garlic and chilli
  10. Brown rice salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion, lemon, oregano, seeds, nuts and sheep’s feta

BONUS SNACK IDEA: Corn chips with homemade guacomole and/or hummus

So, there you have it. Ten easy meals that you can adapt as your own and add what you like. Experiment with flavours, textures and enjoy the process of creating a healthy lifestyle that may just change your life and certainly your health.

I will post some recipes in my recipe folder over the next few weeks. I do have some good ones but I mostly cook by experimentation. I do suggest getting at least one good cook book for more ideas.

Here are the main ones I use and recommend:

Cooking Without by Barbara Cousins

Cooking Without Made Easy by Barbara Cousins

Any questions? Feel free to ask me.

 

 


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I’m a control freak when it comes to food.

So, I’m not on my restricted regime anymore. The demise started last weekend when I was feeling like absolute crap.

 

I was taking Panodol just to stay upright but still felt the effects of a mysterious internal infection. The day before, I made chocolate chip biscuits for Master 6 and the kids I was looking after for the weekend. Well, I decided that I wanted to try one…just one to perk myself up a bit. One wasn’t enough. However, I did stop at two. They were delicious.

 

The next morning, I made bacon and cheese tea biscuits (similar to scones) for the boys’ breakfast and lunch boxes. I had one. I could not resist it. Today, I made chocolate banana muffins. I thought about resisting but I choose not to and had 2 mini muffins ( baby size).

 

The chocolate banana muffin (regular size not the mini version).

It was the third time in 10 days that the word resist came to my present moment. When asked by my yoga teacher why I did not go to the doctor I said, “I resist western medicine.” As soon as I said it aloud, I knew I had to reflect upon it.

 

Then when I thought in my mind ‘I can’t resist that tea biscuit’, I knew it had to end; the controlling relationship I have with food. I remember what Eckhart Tolle said, “What you resist persists.”

 

It doesn’t mean I went on a binge and devoured all restricted items. I did not. But I’m over with being such a tight-ass. I don’t do this strictly because of my health condition, although that has always been the premise. I think I do it out of the need to control a situation that only I can. I know this sounds vaguely like the mind of someone with an eating disorder. I am now on a mission to change my thoughts about food. I know I have conditioned myself enough to moderate food now…in the name of my health.

 

That is why I made an amazing dinner tonight including one thing I normally would not eat and haven’t eaten in 8 months: Wheat Pasta. I normally insist on eating only gluten-free pasta.

 

The dish I wanted to create is nicer with a fresh egg fettuccine. The Garlic Lovers Pasta Sauce is a recipe handed down to me from my very good friend, Gillian McKenzie. She used to make this when we were flatmates in Vancouver, Canada. Now, it is a regular menu item at her restaurant,The Seaside Shanty in Chester, Nova Scotia. It is easy, fast and yummy!  Here’s how to make 2 servings (or 3 small).

 

 

  1. Mince 5 cloves of garlic. Add it to 2 TBSP of oil in a saucepan; sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Do not burn.

Step 1

2. Add 1tsp of dried basil or mixed Italian herbs (that’s what I use)

Step 2

3. Add 1/5 tsp of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper. ( I use a little less)

4. Add 1tsp each of salt and pepper.

5.Add 2 cans of chopped or crushed tomatoes. (I use chopped)

6. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take lid off pot half way through.

7. BBQ 2 free-range chicken breasts. I season with salt, pepper, and olive oil only before cooking. Cut into slices when cooked.

Step 7

8. Cook a package of fresh fettuccine pasta according to the package instructions. Or make your own if you’re real keen. Sometimes, I am that keen.
9. Twist pasta onto a large plate.
10. Top with 2 large spoonfuls of sauce.
11. Grate fresh parmesan cheese over the sauce.
12 Top with sliced chicken.

13. Serve.

Step 13….don’t serve with recipe card!!

14. Eat.
15. Enjoy.
16. Love

 

One item I am not ready to resume is alcohol. I love a cold beer on a hot summer day so I can wait until those days arrive. My goal is November. I will try the moderation thing with alcohol again. I used to do it so there is no reason I can’t again.

 

I know I have said all these things before and then I go and stick myself back on a restricted regime that I don’t really enjoy.

 

I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to eat the foods I make out of love and joy. How can that be wrong?

I do have a respiratory condition that I need to monitor but I am so grateful that I am not celiac or diabetic or have a condition that calls for me to never have the foods I love again. I think it’s time I let go of my control freak ways and just enjoy life. Isn’t that what we are all here for?

 

By the way, I finally gave in and saw a doctor on Friday, August 24th. I am now on 2 medications: prednisolone (which is great, I’ve been on it several times over the past 17 years) and clarithomycin tablets, which I believe is an anti-biotic*. The doctor said 17 days with a cold or flu is not the norm and he even took some swabs of my throat and nose for testing. Two days on and I am feeling much better although I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep. I’ve been awake since before 4am this morning and it’s now 9pm. My early morning coughing fit has not subsided yet. Maybe tonight’s the night.

 

If you are maintaining a new eating regime or trying out a restricted diet for weight or health reasons, I urge you to stick with it for a minimum of 3 weeks. Often new habits are formed around this time and you just may not even want the “bad for you” foods as much or again. If you fall off, get back up there the next day. I have been up and off that wagon so many times now that more often than not, I will choose gluten-free, dairy free, yeast free and alcohol free items first anyway. It’s about your conditioning and priorities. If your health is in question, then it’s a no-brainer. Yes, it’s damn hard especially when you’ve lived your entire life eating the foods that are making you ill.

 

The question is: Are you living to eat or eating to live?

 

 

*always take a probiotic supplement or have some live culture yoghurt daily while taking as away to maintain good bacteria in your tummy.

 

Inner Health for ummm inner health

 

I love this yoghurt.It may be dairy but it’s good for the tummy!